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British Council Arts
 Folk Archive Banner, By Ed Hall, 2005. © The Artists.
Mangrove Carnival Troupe Pants, Notting Hill Carnival, London, 2001. © The Artists.
Folk Archive
To view the Folk Archive online click here

Folk Archive is a vibrant, visual account of contemporary popular British culture by the artists Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane. Bringing together drawing, painting, film, performance, costume, decoration, political opinion and humour, and some astonishing objects, Folk Archive celebrates activity from a vast range of British pastimes and pursuits, and demonstrates that folk art in the UK is both widespread and vigorous.

The creation of Folk Archive provided an opportunity for a cross section of the community to have their work shown in an art gallery for the first time and includes work from prisoners and community groups, gurning and barrel rolling participants, Notting Hill Carnival troupes, protesters, pop fans, bored teenagers, villagers and the homeless.

Treading the fine line between art and anthropology, Deller and Kane have selected over 280 elements to form an archive which provides a snap-shot of the state of contemporary folk art in the UK. It represents both artists’ long-term interests in creative practices and artefacts from outside the traditional art world.

Collated over six years, Folk Archive was acquired by the British Council in 2007 and is now available to be shown to the general public in the form of a self-contained touring exhibition.

Current/recent touring information

Folk Archive was shown as part of Jeremy Deller’s exhibition From One Revolution to Another at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, between 25 September 2008 – 04 January 2009.

For further information please contact arts@britishcouncil.org.

Folk Archive virtual exhibition

After acquiring the Folk Archive in 2007, we decided that the best way to catalogue the elements of the work within the British Council Collection was to showcase the archive as a virtual exhibition, so that it can always be seen online. In collaboration with the artists, we commissioned a designer to construct a virtual museum space into which the work was placed for viewers to explore online.

Bearing in mind that one of our most important aims is to provide quick and easy access for users, the virtual exhibition has been rendered in Flash software, and so is intended only as a visual guide to the work, rather than a fully-formed three dimensional environment. We hope that this innovative way of cataloguing work and exhibitions will lead on to new ways of thinking about and engaging with art.

To view the Folk Archive online click here

Image left: Mangrove Carnival Troupe Pants, Notting Hill Carnival, London, 2001. © The Artists.

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